World Hijab Day: Support Muslims’ Rights

By Abdulkarim Jimale

MILWAUKEE – Making the call for a special day to support Muslims’ right to don hijab freely, a young American woman did not expect her call to reach over 100 countries and hundreds of thousands of supporters from across the globe.

“We’re anticipating over 1 Million participants,” Nazma Khan, the founder of World Hijab Day movement, told OnIslam.net about the second anniversary of the event. “So far 116 countries are participating in World Hijab Day,” she added.

On February 1, one million Muslim and non-Muslim women wearing a traditional Islamic head scarf are going to march on the streets of 116 countries to mark the second anniversary of World Hijab Day.

The event, held for the second consecutive year, was first suggested by Khan to encourage non-Muslim women to don the hijab and experience it.

It was designed as part of a bid to foster better understanding and counteract controversies surrounding hijab as a Muslim choice.

Last year, Khan’s suggestion soon found support from all over the world with the group’s literature translated into more than 40 languages.

Kathryn Van Gompel, a Christian woman from Arizona, was one of the thousands who gave the Islamic headscarf a trial over the last year’s event.

Wearing hijab for several months now, Gompel is thinking about continuing to wear it.

“I actually have not received any negative response so far. I am Christian and have been wearing a hijab for about 6 months,” she said

“I have received many compliments. If people ask me why I just tell them I want to be more modest (wisdom comes with age I am 51 years old).

“I also point out the fact the Christians, Jews, and other religions wore them for hundreds of years, and there is nothing wrong with covering one’s self,” Gomple added.

Freedom 

Seeing hijab as a human right, Muslim women see that the event call has helped in introducing their cause to the world in a better way.

“I wear Hijjab, because it is a command from the Great Almighty,” Hamdi Abdirahman, a Muslim from Canada, told OnIslam.net.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

For non-Muslims, however, they wanted to express support to Muslim women’s right in donning the Islamic headscarf.

“Wearing a Hijab is the easy part, being out in the world and seeing the reaction is the hard part,” Corinne Webb, a non-Muslim who is going to participate in the WHD this year and she also attended last year’s WHD, said in a message that she sent to WHD movement.

She is now wearing the hijab to support Muslim women who wear hijab and face daily discrimination.

“I was supporting my friend and women who wear a hijab on a daily basis that suffer abuse from people who don’t understand,” she added.

“It is a great way to walk in my friend’s shoes.”

Why Hijab Day

Inspired by Martin Luther King’s dream, Nazma too has a dream that women will one day live freely wearing a hijab without experiencing discrimination or religious prejudices.

Nazma gave speech at Rad Talks talking about how she endured discriminating behavior by her classmates during her school time.

“At one point students literally kicked me and spit at me both inside and outside the school,” she said.

“I was known as the only (person) wearing a hijab in the school. I chose to cover up to obey my creator…,” she added, recalling how she was abused both verbally and physically.

“I was called names such as ‘Batman’ and ‘Ninja’,” Nazma said.

A large number of Muslim women face the same discrimination in schools, public places and work every day because they choose to wear a head scarf.

World Hijab Day may not end the problems that Muslim women are facing daily, like racism, misogyny, prejudice, and many more.

Yet, it may give a glimpse of the struggles faced by Muslim women to non-Muslims who wear the hijab for one day.

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